Ilhan’s win is a demonstrably personal achievement for her and a symbolic triumph for the Somali-American diaspora. (Along with Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian-American, she is now poised to become one of two first Muslim women elected to Congress.) The community has in recent years faced scrutiny even as they pushed for more integration, launched successful businesses and made political strides.

This was heightened during the Trump presidency, with the administration instituting a travel ban on countries including Somalia. This only helped to galvanize the community, pushing many of them to run for office and make history alongside Ilhan last night. Her state seat in District 60B in southeast Minneapolis was clinched by Mohamud Noor, who became the first Somali-American man elected to state legislature.

As results started trickling in, Ilhan’s triumph elicited hearty responses from Somalis across the world. Dancing to the popular Somali song Dirgax, she noted the historic moment, reflected on her dire upbringing and thanked the people of the North Star state for believing in the potential and strength of immigrants.

“Here in Minnesota, we don’t only welcome immigrants; we send them to Washington,” she said.

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